What do you think of opposite sex roommates?

advice header image

What do you think of opposite sex roommates?

Jul 05, 2010 |Candice Watters
Question

My boyfriend is currently living with a guy who is disturbing to everyone in the house and not considerate of his roommates. My boyfriend complains all the time about how he leaves his car unlocked when moving it and has even left the house unlocked, leaves lights on all the time, and when he's in his room on the phone you can hear everything that's being said everywhere except the basement. I understand him complaining about him.

But he also lives with a girl. The girl is nice, kind of tomboyish. I know there is no attraction between the two of them, and it's more like big sister-little brother relationship, but I've always felt like you shouldn't live with people of the opposite sex unless it's your family or your spouse.

He's brought up wanting to move in with his best friend, but his best friend's lease isn't up until December. Last night my boyfriend told me that the annoying guy is getting kicked out, and another girl is moving in. I guess it bothers me that he's lived with one girl, so now living with two girls isn't any better, but I also understand that there is not a lot he can do about his living situation.

Am I wrong for letting this bother me? How do I handle this situation?

Answer

Thanks for writing. You're not wrong on this one. I'd be bothered too if my boyfriend had lived in a house with women! I think your boyfriend, if he's a believer, should insist that the next roommate be a guy. And if the others in the house don't agree to that, then he should do whatever is necessary to move out (e.g., find a roommate to take over his part of the rent for the rest of his lease, pay out the rest of his lease if he can't find a roommate, etc.). He has a lot more power over this situation than he knows, or is letting on.

We've talked before on Boundless about the importance of choosing roommates wisely, including not living with non-Christians and not living with members of the opposite sex. I believe this is one of those issues that many singles tend to downplay, to their harm.

I think the most important test of a good roommate is not how loud he is on the phone, but whom he serves. It's possible to work out issues of courtesy and often character stretching in a good way. We all have habits that annoy others. What's of greater concern is if your boyfriend is choosing roommates who aren't believers. (And if they are believers, but walking in disobedience, that's not much better.)

Recently a single friend of mine talked about choosing a new roommate — a non-believer. She thought it was more important to have help paying the rent than to hold out for a fellow believer. I think the price of living with someone difficult or someone who creates difficult circumstances is simply too high.

It's one thing to engage with people of other ideas at the office, at church, at school — that's where we should engage. But when you come home, you're coming to what should be your shelter. This is your most intimate space. It should be a refuge. To truly be able to rest and be restored, it needs to be. Tension and opposition over core beliefs make those things near impossible.

It's easy to underestimate how completely an unwise roommate choice can negatively affect every area of your life. Your home is a huge part of your life and the people you share it with have a lot of influence on you. In most cases I've observed, this decision is given too little attention!

You ask how you should handle this. I think you should respectfully tell your boyfriend how uncomfortable you are with him living with another woman and that two would be worse. You can see why in a Q&A I answered about the avoiding the appearance of evil, and the temptation that comes with it:

To avoid even what seems evil has the benefit of guarding your reputation. ... But also, I believe God commanded this because He knows that often the "appearance of evil" — even in the absence of actual sin — occurs in the context of circumstances where sin is more likely, or at least very accessible.

The fact that the guy is moving out makes this an ideal time to change the dynamics. Why not suggest to your boyfriend that he offer the house to the girl he lives with, suggesting that she invite two of her friends to take over the lease. Then he could get a place with his best friend, even if he has to find another man to share the lease till December.

To be honorable and godly in this situation requires doing whatever it takes to get into a good living situation. Also, his choice of roommates, and how he handles this challenge and your request, will be a good test of his character. If he fails this test, I'd be wary of moving forward in your relationship with him.

May God grant you wisdom and grace.

Sincerely,
CANDICE WATTERS

Copyright 2010 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.

If you have a question you'd like us to consider for this column, please send it to editor@boundless.org. Please note that all questions we select for this column may be edited for clarity and privacy and become the property of Focus on the Family.

Donate

Like what you see?

If you’ve enjoyed this article, will you consider giving a tax-deductible gift to Boundless right now? We’re a donor-funded ministry, and we rely on friends like you to help keep us going! DONATE NOW »

References
  • .

THE BOUNDLESS BUZZ

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter and see all our latest content every Thursday.